PAG URBAN LANDSCAPE SHOW
What is the thread that ties together the photographs on display in the PAG Urban Landscape Show? Here’s a clue: serendipity.
One of the joys of cities everywhere is that-- as you wander through their streets and plazas, back alleys and bridges, waterfronts and corner cafés --you are constantly bombarded with a dazzling, never-ending array of changing views and found visual moments. Cities are humanly constructed kaleidoscopes daring us to open our eyes to their wonder.
During the mid-nineteenth century, the French discovered the sublime pleasure of carefree urban strolling — they coined the term “flâneur” for the artist/street wanderer. Poet Charles Baudelaire wrote that “his passion and his profession is to become one with the crowds; to see the world, to be at the center of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world.”
German writer Walter Benjamin called flâneurs “modern urban spectators, amateur detectives and investigators of the city.”
Our PAG detectives have been busy shooting in niches, tunnels, corners, and side-streets in the far-flung cities of China, India, Jordan, Brazil, the Czech Republic, and Italy, or in more familiar spaces from New York City to San Diego.
A soaring bridge, an ancient Chinese street, layers of Middle Eastern housing cascading down an urban hillside—each can transform an everyday streetscape into a painting. This urban palette comes alive in a blur of color, light, movement-- bicycles, yellow taxis, luggage carts, hanging laundry, murals, people chatting, waiting, or carrying baskets on their head alongside pastel colonial buildings. Witness the sublime silence of the moon rising over a downtown skyline, the mysterious façade of a building, the poetic juxtaposition of people, vehicles, and buildings on a legendary civic square in New York City.
The flâneur is alive and well in San Diego!
Essay by Larry Herzog
© Photo Arts Group